To celebrate Lipscomb’s 127th year, President Randy Lowry announced during the annual President’s Convocation that Lipscomb has been recognized as a prestigious national university, ranking 176th in the nation in the annual U.S. News & World Report’s “2017 America’s Guide to Colleges.”
“We’ve received new recognition,” Lowry said. “I think it’s a great moment when Carnegie looked out and looked at this University and said, ‘No longer will we classify you as a regional comprehensive university; you’re going to leave the group that includes Belmont and Harding and Freed and Elon and a host of really good schools, because Lipscomb University will be elevated to the classification of a national university.’ And when they elevated us in a category of 300 schools, we came in 124 spaces ahead of schools who have already been on that list.”
During convocation, Lowry honored chair of the Board of Trustees David Scobey and his wife Debbie Scobey for their faithful years of service to the university.
Lowry also addressed the current Lipscomb parking situation, an issue near to many Lipscomb students’ hearts currently. With the addition of a new dormitory, Bison Hall, according to Lowry, 250 new spaces were constructed within the past year. However, also this semester, all of the Ezell parking garage at Lipscomb is off-limits to students and is now reserved for faculty and guests only.
“We also have done something else, and I don’t ever get enough credit here,” Lowry said. “I don’t get enough credit because I can’t ever get enough done, but it might be interesting for you to know that since this time a year ago, we’ve actually constructed 250 parking spaces on this campus. Again, I know that’s not enough, but we’re making progress, and we are thinking of you as we listen carefully.”
For his closing remarks, Lowry addressed the student body, drawing inspiration from a Broadway musical, Dear Evan Hansen and one of its central songs, “You will be Found.”
“A Broadway musical broke out just a few months ago — a musical that has a difficult story. A story of a young teenage boy . . . one, perhaps many of us can identify with, who is struggling in his high school community to find his spot. And over and over again is communicated with in ways that are harsh and damaging; that are ego-deflating; that are harmful. It [the musical] tries to say that all of us long for a sense of community. Out of this Broadway musical comes a song that most of us can identify with, and it starts recognizing reality . . . that in fact we will find community, and community will find us. May God bless us as a community in our 127th year.”
Immediately after Lowry’s closing remarks, two Lipscomb students emerged from the audience, singing “You Will Be Found.” Students from the theater department, the school of music and Presidential Ambassadors Council later joined in on the song.
Dr. Jim Thomas then introduced the two star vocalists as students Hatty King and Nicole Zefanya. King is a freshman musical theater major, a graduate of Lipscomb Academy and was just named one of the top four female musical theater performers in the nation. Zefanya is a freshman contemporary music major hailing from Indonesia and has the distinct honor of having been the opening act for Taylor Swift.
Convocation concluded with the Lipscomb body singing “Shout Hallelujah.” Provost Craig Bledsoe then closed with prayer before the annual tolling of the bells.
Photos by Ben Davis